With Kapil Mishra, Kejriwal Is Getting a Taste of His Own Medicine

Sacked water minister Kapil Mishra is doing to Arvind Kejriwal what Kejriwal has done to others in the past.

3 min read

Two things stand out about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s ongoing public squabble. First, Kejriwal is getting an ample dose of his own bitter medicine of hurling charges of corruption and wrongdoing against others when he was leading the band of India Against Corruption (IAC) crusaders back in 2011.

Kejriwal and his colleagues never stopped to prove the allegations they made against industry houses and Congress politicians. Sacked water minister Kapil Mishra is doing to Kejriwal what Kejriwal has done to others.

Second, and the more interesting and intriguing aspect, is the reason why the knights in shining armour who constituted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have fallen out among themselves. It would be easy to point a finger at the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) doing its mischievous bit to take advantage of the differences among AAP members but that certainly is not the whole story.


What is the truth-quotient of Mishra’s charges that Kejriwal is entangled in money laundering, tax evasion and other counts of financial wrongdoing? On the face of it, there is as yet no due diligence on the part of Mishra. The allegations remain general and hazy except for a reference to Krishna Nagar branch of the Axis Bank in Delhi. There are no other details about the “economic fraud” committed by Kejriwal.

At this moment, it is not necessary to argue that Mishra’s allegations cannot be true because Kejriwal has the reputation of being an honest man. It is not yet necessary to say that it is the word of Mishra against the word of Kejriwal.

This was the case in Mishra’s earlier allegation that he saw health minister Satyender Jain offering a bribe of Rs 2 crore to Kejriwal.

The allegations have now moved to a different level. Mishra has to produce evidence. And the evidence that he puts forward has to pass judicial muster.

The press conference on Sunday where Mishra made the allegations was certainly explosive in the figurative sense, but the actual detonation will have to wait until the day the allegations are proved and Kejriwal is convicted.

Kejriwal himself had used an array of allegations against politicians in the Manmohan Singh-led government to build his own political fortune and that of the AAP.

He did not press forward the allegations he then made against others. Anti-corruption was indeed his calling card, but he knew as much as people at large that governance is much more than harping on corruption. To an extent, Kejriwal did get down to govern, but he has kept up a high decibel level of protest against the BJP in the last two years.

There is little doubt that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre did what it could to frustrate the functioning of Kejriwal government. However, Kejriwal failed to show enough tact and cunning in his fightback.

He reacted immaturely, hitting out at Modi in a callow fashion. He had earlier shown streaks of that immaturity when he contested against Modi from Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

He pitted himself against Modi without requisite thought and political backing. It now appears that he has continued in this way, without fortifying the flanks and rear of his party. This stands revealed in Mishra’s outbursts and the flare-up with Kumar Vishwas which was put out in time.

The trouble is not with Mishra’s allegations. The trouble is with the politics of Kejriwal. It is loud and ostensible, self-righteous and exhibitionist. Both Mishra and Kejriwal exhibit the same immature characteristics – emotional outbursts which make for good drama and bad politics.

This cannot be the new and alternative politics that the AAP and Kejriwal promised. They have to show restraint and resilience, and they must abandon theatrics for good measure.

The onslaught against the electronic voting machines (EVMs) once again shows them up as greenhorns and hotheads rather than mature politicians. Delhi needs governance, and the AAP government is delivering it in bits and pieces with regard to government schools and public health centres.

It is time to do more of that good work. Mishra will fade away. And BJP will have to do something else than think of ways to break the AAP.

(The writer is a New Delhi-based political journalist. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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